FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Injury and Decorum in Iraq

There are no longer any American troops being wounded in Iraq.

Now they are “injured.” Listen closely to the news and you will be hard pressed to hear the word “wounded.” “Wounded” conjures up a different image than “injured,” and here we see yet again the invertebrate nature of the American press. Yesterday, while preparing some onions and butternut squash, I got carried away with the knife and injured myself. That injury was treated with cold running water and a band aid that I’m not even using today.

On the other hand, if I had been hit in the same hand in my kitchen with a 7.62 X 39mm bullet traveling in excess of 700 meters per second, I would have lost several fingers and possibly my whole hand. That’s the difference between being injured and wounded. Contrary to what Hollywood would have us believe, being hit by bullets and shrapnel and secondary missiles from high explosives seldom causes something that might be dismissed as a “flesh wound.” Tearing and cavitation of tissue, the shattering of bone, the severance of vessels and tendons, not to mention the absolute septic filth of these insults to the human body are anything but “just” a flesh wound. This is not the image the Department of Defense and the US press want us to carry around inside our heads. We might lose our stomach for war, just as most of these “injured” troops do the very moment they are confronted with bleeding deformities, disfiguring burns, amputations, shock and pain, and often permanent disabilities.

Now you have your leg. Now you don’t. Get your head around that, and you’ve got your head around war.

We all know the count of the dead, even though the DoD and the press wants to somehow separate the combat deaths from the non-combat deaths (as if suicides and fatal vehicle accidents are no more common among GIs in Iraq right now than they are in Hinesville, Georgia or Fayetteville, North Carolina). But well over 1,000 of our sons, husbands, fathers, and even a few daughters, wives, and moms… have been wounded.

They likely would be alright if they had not been there in the first place. This is an embarrassing fact. Almost as embarrassing as the fact that all this maiming and killing – which by the way includes thousands of Iraqis – was started for no nobler purpose than plunder and power.

I’m not even going to go into the questions of Gulf War Syndrome, depleted uranium, or the more insidious post traumatic stress disorder that is transformed into a pathogen that attacks loved ones and society. I won’t even belabor that every single one of us, at the end of the road, is a casualty in this war. For now, I’m just talking about wounds, because the very word has become anathema to the Ken & Barbie media.

A human being is a collection of trillions of cells organized in a way that makes a tiny part of nature conscious and purposive. The mere act of reading this is a phenomenon of such immense and miraculous complexity that it will never be fully understood. We can, however, at least appreciate it and show it due reverence. We can respect our own existence and this gift that nature has bestowed on each and all of us.

War technology is science in the service of obscene anatomical vandalism. There is a reason we never see images of the wounded that are the day-to-day reality of this war by those we jokingly refer to as journalists. If we did, public acquiescence to this regime’s little adventure would evaporate. What is now unimaginable to many would be placed before us un-sanitized, and we would recoil from it like a roomful of spiders.

Perhaps the first casualty we need to inflict on the Bush junta is to wound decorum. No one will like what they see when we pull the curtain back off the charnel house, and we will be castigated and resented for bringing the broken bodies into the room. But once the shattered flesh is there in front of it, America will lose its stomach for this war and for these home-grown Mussolinis of our de facto government.

STAN GOFF is the author of “Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti” (Soft Skull Press, 2000) and of the upcoming book “Full Spectrum Disorder” (Soft Skull Press, 2003). He is a member of the BRING THEM HOME NOW! coordinating committee, a retired Special Forces master sergeant, and the father of an active duty soldier. Email for BRING THEM HOME NOW! is bthn@mfso.org.

Goff can be reached at: sherrynstan@igc.org

More articles by:
July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
George Ochenski
He Speaks From Experience: Max Baucus on “Squandered Leadership”
Ted Rall
Right Now, It Looks Like Trump Will Win in 2020
David Swanson
The Intelligence Community Is Neither
Andrew Moss
Chaos or Community in Immigration Policy
Kim Scipes
Where Do We Go From Here? How Do We Get There?
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail